The AFCON solution for finishing the PL season and more mails…

Date published: Friday 27th March 2020 2:29

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The AFCON solution for finishing the season: results to count double
For the 2010 World Cup, the CAF’s qualification tournament doubled up as the qualification tournament for the following AFCON. Hence, South Africa had to enter into a qualification tournament for a finals tournament they had already qualified for.

This seemed weird at the time, but I think this ‘results counting for two things’-solution could give us a solution if  – Cruijff forbid –  the 19/20 season cannot be finished because of you-know-what. This is my plan for an equitable (ish) solution to finish the season without causing delays to 20/21, award any silverware before it is duly won, or declare any part of 19/20 null and void:

1. Firstly, make it so that there’s no immediate relegation for the 19/20 season. Start the 20/21 season (with the same teams as 19/20) but schedule the exact fixtures still to be played for 19/20 in first, in the order that they were previously penciled in for. The points earned in these games count for both seasons.

3. Once all those fixtures have been played: add the points tallies to the 19/20 ones and crown whoever tops that table champions of that season. Liverpool could have their parade on a lovely day in autumn. The bottom three are marked for relegation for 19/20 but stay in the league – for now. The top 3 in the Championship are marked to go up (optional play-offs for the third spot if scheduling permits it).

4. Next, continue the 20/21 season as normal, and award the championship and EL/CL places as you would normally. With regard to relegation: the bottom three for ’19/20′ are relegated along with the bottom three for 20/21. The top 3 in the Championship for both ’19/20′ and 20/21 both go up, so as a rule there will be six teams going down and six going up.

5. There may be overlap between the 6 relegated or promoted teams (eg Norwich finishing in the bottom 3 twice).

a. If you end up with the same number of teams on either side, there’s no problem. Four teams going down and four teams going up? Leave it at that.

b. If there’s, say, five different teams going up from the Championship but only 3 going down from the Prem, the promoted teams with the lowest points tallies for their ‘promotion season’ will play off against the (non-relegated) Premier League teams with the lowest aggregate points tallies for both seasons (eg Bournemouth have finished on 38 and 41 points and West Ham have finished on 36 and 45, then Bournemouth will play off).

c. If there’s more teams going down than coming up – the Premier League teams can stay, because even in this system some small part must be arbitrary.

All in all, I think this is the most equitable way of finishing the season without wreaking (too much) havoc to the next one.


Home international
Good afternoon,

To answer Dave, Brighton’s question, the home internationals were brilliant. Back in the 70’s when I was growing up, live football was a rareity, so was great for a kid, especially as it was played straight after the season ended, and I hadn’t learnt to love cricket yet.

Was even played in world cup years.

From memory NIron were never very good, but Wales were periodically alright, and Scotland were arguably better than England.

Add to this that Scottish fans were not the cuddly version you get today, so there was always spice on and off the pitch when the auld enemy met.

They nicked the Wembley turf and broke the crossbar in 77 when they won. Think that was the game Ray Clemence let a soft shot go between his legs.

England killed off the tournament in an early display of eff off you lot, we can get more money playing other countries.

Finally Dave, you didn’t have to use the ephitet “older” to get a response, but for the memories you triggered, I’ll let you off.

Stay safe everyone, stay at home…..
Ged Biglin, Shanghai


Dirty Dunnie
Dear F365,

I have to take massive issue with Jack Cavan and his placing of Richard Dunne in the Dirty b*stard XI. The Dunnie Monster didn’t have a dirty bone in his body. He was an absolute beast for City for many years, winning our player of the year 4 years in a row and everyone loved him. He had a lovely soft Irish lilt and seemed like a nice chap. None of which has anything to with being dirty or not, I just wanted to pay tribute to him.

A dirty player is someone who either deliberately does someone in the snarling Roy Keane manner, or is a master of the secretive dark arts and does all sorts while usually getting away with it. Dunnie was neither of these. With all of his red cards, and his record number of own goals, none of them were a deliberate act (well hopefully that’s obvious with the own goals). I always remember him having a look on his face that said “Oh god, I’ve done it again haven’t I?”. With a little bit more care and awareness he could’ve been one of the great defenders of his time, unfortunately he was John Stones from a more physical era. If you want a dirty City player to stick in defence, then Danny Mills and Ben Thatcher are much better candidates. Nothing lovable about either of them, they were just genuinely nasty.

For a leftfield option I present Ahmed Elmohamady. No rivalries to cloud my judgement here, I just can’t stand watching him play. He gets away with so much, niggly little things, nasty kicks and throwing himself to the floor at the slightest opportunity. Any kind of contact anywhere above his waist will result in him rolling around claiming he’s been elbowed, he’s an extreme version of how footballers generally behave on the pitch. Try and watch him for a whole match if football ever starts again.

Andy, Cheshire


Non-League stops
Dear Football365,

Typical isn’t it that an hour after I wrote a boredom-relieving email about the Northern Premier League that the season was totally expunged from the records and the clock will be reset if football can resume in August. This also puts into doubt the likelihood of the National League North and South expanding to 24 teams each from the current 22.

As you might imagine, there are a few teams in Steps 3 and 4 who have missed out on promotion:

*In the NPL, South Shields were 12 points clear with ten games left to play and barring an almighty collapse would have been in the Step 2 next season.

*Workington looked set for a return to the NPL, sitting ten points ahead at the top of the NPL North/West.

*Despite a three-point deduction, Maldon & Tiptree have taken 65 points from 26 games this season in the Isthmian North, 14 more than any other team.

Because of the precarity of football finance lower down the pyramid, promotion and relegation between Steps 4/5 tend to be one up, one down and sometimes via a playoff. Notable teams here missing out on the opportunity to test themselves at the higher level:

*In the Combined Counties League, Ascot United are ten points clear at the top.

*Stowmarket Town had an incredible 74 points from 28 games, giving them a 15-point lead in the Eastern Counties League.

*Northern League side Stockton Town were 13 points ahead of second place with eight games left to play.

*Dropping down one level further, in the North West Counties League First Division South, Vauxhall Motors had actually already sealed their league title, establishing a 16-point lead with eight games of the season left.

On a personal level, Grantham’s good fortune to be reprieved again means they won’t be relegated Step 4, so won’t be facing my brother in law’s local team (he doesn’t go to watch them), Staveley Miners Welfare, who were in the promotion picture in the Northern Counties East League. Still, there’s always next year.
Ed Quoththeraven


Random question…
What happened to the caretaker managers of Arsenal and Everton after they were replaced?
Another Bored Fan

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